Modern Design Meets Rustic Architecture in This Colorado Kitchen
Mick De Giulio nestles a sleek, chic kitchen within the envelope of a lofty, lodgy mountain chalet.
Like the mountains outside, the architecture in this Snowmass, Colorado, home soars to spectacular heights. Massive wood beams and statuesque arched windows dare to reach for the heavens. Yet like a steaming mug of cocoa sipped beside a crackling fire, the kitchen within this colossus feels cozy, comfortable, and irrefutably inviting. That's thanks to the genius of designer Mick De Giulio, who used the art of proportion to create a kitchen in sync with human scale.
"Because of its volume, this is an exulted space," De Giulio says. He was tasked by homeowners Martha and John Eggemeyer to envision a new kitchen in the 20-year-old home. "Respecting what was already there, we set a kitchen with an entirely new look between the roughhewn ceiling beams and the rusticated limestone floors." The key in a room so tall, De Giulio says, is creating scale that feels comfortable for people to live in.
A massive range hood stretches the length of the cabinetry, matching the scope of the space but in a horizontal form. Door and drawer fronts also sprawl to pleasing widths.
Contrasting overscale elements, cabinets top out at an unassuming 8 feet, making even the top shelf an easy stretch for Martha to access whatever she needs for dinner. Family members sitting at the island are just as snug, cocooned by a pair of I-beam pendant lights. "They're like a canopy over the island, which gives people the feeling of comfort," De Giulio says.
A deft mix of materials also dials up the warmth. High-gloss eucalyptus juxtaposes the matte finish of Iceberg quartzite and the artisanal texture of hand-scraped wenge wood on the island top. Brushed stainless-steel drawer fronts on the cooking wall contrast polished stainless-steel trim, German silver in glass-front cabinets, and the silicon bronze pendants.
"It's a simple kitchen—an L shape with an island—but the elements give it personality, texture," De Giulio says.
Behind the beauty is flawless function. "I needed Mick to pack a lot into a space that, despite its height, isn't all that big," Martha says.
A paneled refrigerator teams with refrigerator drawers for drinks and a wine fridge in the island. A pantry cabinet with pullout shelves stows both dishes and a microwave. Another cabinet holds copper pots. "Instead of being stacked high in a drawer—so hard to reach—they're accessible," Martha says. "And they look beautiful."
A slotted cabinet holds trays, drawers stash bar supplies and utensils, and clever sliding panels in the backsplash cloak a slim niche for oils and spices. "Everything can be hidden. There's nothing cluttering counters, which is important with an open floor plan," Martha says.
"The whole design is genius," she adds. "I love how Mick took our home's great bones—architecture with the character you'd see in an old European mountain chalet—and complemented that with a clean-lined kitchen. He redefined mountain modern specifically for us, and we could not be happier."